Unexpected Inheritance

Tue 14th – Sat 18th August 2018

reviews

Lottie Hayton

at 09:50 on 17th Aug 2018

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In this improv comedy show the aptly named Australian duo Tenuous Link used a member of the audience as their ‘main character’. They created a story based around the premise that this character had inherited a number of strange items, randomly taken from suggestions made by the audience pre-show.

The bizarre start to their act, which saw them dancing in sleeping bags emblazoned with the Australian flag drew some laughs. If there was a high point, this was it. Occasional other moments of wit did surface, but these largely derived from the show going wrong as Tenuous Link failed to work together.

An improv comedy duo should build on and help each other but in this piece the comics often undermined each other’s original intention for a scene. This showed even more because of their technique of setting up a scene by simply stating what it would contain then stiltingly acting it out.

The addition of some confusing details, which seemed to be personal jokes between the comics, added little or no comedic value. This included the wearing of different hats throughout the show as a way of illustrating which character was being portrayed.

The venue unfortunately highlighted the show’s failure to produce laughs as the audience were in a ‘c’ shape around the stage, meaning they could see each other’s boredom and occasional awkwardness as Tenuous Link struggled through each scene.

Not much positive can be said about this show. It felt like Tenuous Link tried very hard to fill the show's allotted time. You couldn’t help but wish they hadn’t. Only their closing request for the audience to come again, because it would be a completely different series of scenes next time, gave this show any hope of redemption.

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Hugh Kapernaros

at 09:57 on 17th Aug 2018

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'Unexpected Inheritance' is an improv show by Aussie duo Tenuous Link. Kicking off with a robot-dance in what looked like potato sacks with the Australian flag stitched on, it was clear from the start that these girls were definitely going for self-deprecating, purposely cringey humor. At least I hope they were, because their clumsy improv and often unsatisfying sketches weren’t enough to turn the awkward into out-right comedy - the adorkable duo fell short.

The course of the show was decided by audience suggestions for a potential inheritance pulled from a briefcase. Natalie was the chosen name, a spy her profession, and tiles and china dolls were left to her in a distant relative’s will. A bizarre story of secret agencies, mini-pirates and frozen boyfriends ensued, and while the performers managed to forge an entertaining narrative, wackiness sometimes slipped into silliness, with gags about earwax not impressing the discerning crowd at all.

It’s not that the pair aren’t funny. Claire and Kirsty are warm, relatable and undoubtedly clever. They’ve got a distinctly generation-Y sense of humour - dry, endearingly nerdy, with one or two sly Simpsons references squeezed in for measure. Although a generational gap was obvious when Tumblr-style humour went over the older audience members’ frowning heads, the girls took lukewarm reception in their stride and weren’t afraid to laugh at their own slip-ups and stutters.

What really let them down, however, was a lack of chemistry. Crucial to any good show is confidence and support between the performers, and there were a few too many jokes that were set up by one, only to be slammed down by the other. It might have been to keep up the tempo, or to dodge a potential bullet, but the first rule of improv, “always agree”, wasn’t always respected, and the two performers occasionally seemed to be going in at different angles.

They’re worth a watch in that their stage presence is different, refreshingly dorky and light-hearted. I could get what they were going for and they were an endearing pair, but their improv, unfortunately, just wasn’t really there.

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